Professor Natasha Potgieter has been appointed by the University of Venda as the new Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture with effect from 01 January 2023.
Prof Natasha Potgieter joined the University of Venda as a lecturer in 1997 and started the Department of Microbiology in the former Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology in the former School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences. She was appointed as the Head of the Department of Microbiology in 2012. In 2014 she was appointed as the Dean of the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, and she held this position till the merging of the former Schools to Faculties in January 2021. From March to May 2021, she was appointed as the Chair of the Interim Faculty Board and the Chair of the Interim Faculty Research Committee in the newly established Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture. From April 2022 to December 2022, she held the position of the Interim Deputy Dean: Research and Postgraduate studies in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture.
Prof Potgieter has a Doctoral degree in Medical Virology from the University of Pretoria, and she is a C2 NRF rated researcher. Prof Potgieter has established a focus research group on ONE HEALTH which conducts research on all aspects of one health from water quality, sanitation and hygiene aspects, the role of infectious diseases in the transmission of diarrheal diseases related to water/sanitation/hygiene problems, antimicrobial resistance surveillance and treatment options with plant extracts.
Her research concentrates on rural and peri-urban communities in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, epidemiology of enteric bacteria and viruses, TB epidemiology and treatment options using plant extracts, where most people are exposed to various food, water, and sanitation-related diseases and where water and sanitation infrastructure is either non-existing or totally inadequate. Through her research group, she has managed to produce research articles that are relevant to the challenges faced by South Africa today. She has mentored several staff members and students. Prof Potgieter has supervised a total of 14 Doctoral candidates and 41 Masters students. She has over 104 journal publications, 6 book chapters and 19 Technical reports. She is actively involved in several national and international research consortia, and she also serves as the Chair of the African Centre of Excellence (ACE) Advisory Board for development and impact, Regional water and environmental sanitation Centre, Kumasi [RWESCK], Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology [KNUST].
When congratulating her into this new position, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning, Prof Jan Crafford on behalf of the Executive Management and the University community wished her well in her new role and called on all staff members to give her the necessary support.
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Date: 26 January 2023